I’m pretty sure you have read a million times how accommodation is always the most expensive part of your trip. Well, it’s true. That’s why I’m here to give you some tips and options to find cheap accommodation when traveling. Let’s start!
1. Avoid the Hotel
This is a classic. Of course the hotel is going to be the most expensive option; you’re getting everything done. And maybe you don’t even realise, but you’re missing the incredible local experience! Staying at a hotel not only is pricey, but not culturally immersive at all!
2. Go for the Hostel
They usually are half the price of a hotel (or less!) and give you some cool options to really enjoy your trip. You meet people if you’re traveling solo, the more relaxed environment allows you to practise the local language and if you share a room, prices are even lower! You don’t have to be a backpacker to stay at a hostel, they’re for everyone, do not prejudge!
Favourite site: Hostels.com
3. Go camping
This option is definitely for the most adventurous travelers, but also one of the cheapest. Well… free actually. It depends on where you’re traveling, of course, but if you find an area where camping is allowed, you should definitely try it. When you wake up, you can visit the town, do some hiking to a more populated area or cycle until you find an interesting place to visit. Best of both worlds!
4. Stay With a Local
This is an excellent way of getting really cheap accommodation and an even better way of getting to know the local culture. If the host is up to helping you discover it, you can cook together, wander around the tiniest streets and immersing into an authentic way of living. Who’s going to show you this better than an insider?
Favourite site: Be Welcome
5. Exchange one of your skills
You don’t know what I’m talking about? It’s kind of an “accommodation trend” which is based on sharing economy and personal skills. One host wants to learn something you’re really good at. So you stay with her/him and teach them how to dance, paint, play tennis… in exchange of accommodation.
Favourite site: Stay on Skill
6. House exchange
This is another very suitable option that allows you to enjoy a local’s house without paying a buck. You and a host from any part of the world stay in the other’s house, with some cleaning and caring conditions, of course, and voilá, you don’t have to pay for expensive rooms or share yours with other people, in case you are the kind of “private” traveler. See? We have options for everyone!
Favourite site: House Carers
7. Dorms open to travelers
These are only available during the summer, when students go home for a few months, but they are usually pretty inexpensive and cover your basic needs. Moreover, they tend to be very well located, usually nearby populated areas, so you won’t get bored here. It’s possible that you find board stuff to ask for best places to visit or local experiences to enjoy!
Favourite site: University Rooms
Yes, you’ve heard well! Unlike most people think, a monastery is a great option for minimalist travelers, especially in places like Italy, India, Nepal. You don’t necessarily have to be immersed in a spiritual travel, you can simply learn from the simple routine monks carry every day and enrich your trip at a higher lever. Plus, you’ll really notice the difference in price compared to other accommodation options.
Favourite site: Monastery Stays
9. Work abroad
This option is for the ones who travel for a longer period of time. Although you should have some savings when traveling (just in case), it’s totally possible to earn money or work in exchange for accommodation, which reduces quite a lot your expenses during your journey. You can go for slow traveling and a part-time job in the mornings (let’s say 3 hours/day) to be able to sleep “for free” and indulge yourself a bit. You totally deserve it!
Favourite site: WorkAway
Most of these options are really focused on learning from other cultures and traveling as a local, not as a touristy traveler who only wants to hit the most popular spots. It’s about experiencing how other people from a different place live and being enriched by them. That’s why it’s so important to travel with respect and a green mind, being aware of how much our actions affect the environment and how important it is to take care of it in every step of the way.
Main Photo by Anthony Tran